Clearing and Grubbing Vegetation

A USFWS-Approved Biologist will be present during all vegetation clearing and grubbing activities in areas within the currently occupied range of Covered Species of amphibians where suitable habitat is present. Before vegetation removal, the USFWS-Approved Biologist will thoroughly survey the area for these species (see AMP-3, Preconstruction Survey). Either vegetation in sensitive areas will be cleared with handheld motorized tools (e.g., weed eaters or chainsaws) or by hand pulling; or a USFWS-Approved Biologist will walk in front of vegetation-clearing equipment. Where dense brush occurs (e.g., blackberry or periwinkle), the USFWS-Approved Biologist may direct an equipment operator to lift and shake dense vegetation with an excavator or backhoe so that the USFWSApproved Biologist can look underneath and search for amphibians. Tree stumps and roots will be left in place to avoid any ground disturbance and preserve refugia habitat, with the exception of nonnative invasive plants that could propagate from remaining vegetative material. Native branches, leaf litter, mulch, woody debris, and other vegetative trimmings may be retained and spread on site to enhance habitat, as appropriate.